Saturday, February 25, 2006

her dress is done!

My daughter's flower girl dress is done. This is the original design I gave to the seamstress to copy:


This is the dress the seamstress made for my daughter (excuse the background mess):


Her dress was made from dupioni silk. My dress is not done yet, I go in for my fitting next week. I know we're kind of pushing it, but she's really fast -- she made both our dresses in two days! My dress is already cut, but because of some weight loss and breastfeeding issues, she wants to make it at the very last minute so we know it fits right. I'm very happy with how my daughter's dress turned out. The flower is removable as is the sash. She made a vertical pocket in the sash for the flower, and the stem of the flower slips right in.

She didn't want to take the dress off after this.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I was bored



So I made these "Utterly Peanut Buttery Bars" from a recipe I found on the back of a box of C & H light brown sugar. They have a peanut butter shortbread type crust, gooey peanut butter middle and crumbled topping (crust). They're good, a bit too sweet for my taste, I would've preferred them saltier. My kids and husband loved them.

Here is the recipe:
Crust:
1/2 cup soft butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour

Filling:
2 eggs
2 tbsp peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1/2 cup sugar
12 cup golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Crust: In a medium bowl mix butter, peanut butter, and sugar until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and mix well (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve about 1 cup of this mixture for top. Firmly press remaining mixture into bottom of lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan.

Filling: Beat eggs, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar together. Spread over unbaked crust. Sprinkle with reserved crust mixture. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until set and top is golden. Cool in pan and cut into bars.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Falling off the wagon


I really don't use boxed cake mixes, but my sister introduced me to Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake Mix... and it's GOOD. If you look up close, you can actually see the black specks of vanilla bean. They also make a Meyer Lemon cake mix which I bought but haven't tried yet, but if you're ever feeling lazy and just want a quick cake fix, this is the perfect cake mix. I used the leftover buttercream from my January Martha cake to frost the cupcakes so I was done with these in a snap.

On another note, I just want to say that I LOVED last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. I think McSteamy is my new McDreamy (I have a weakness for jawline beards / chin curtains). I hated the ending. Meredith and George. YUCK. It's like watching an incestuous relationship unfold. I wanted Meredith to hook up with McSteamy so there would be tension between all four of them. And since I can't get enough, I've also been reading the blogs ABC has for Grey's Anatomy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

desktop


My desktop picture cracks me up. It's as if he is peeking from inside the monitor.

fo' shizzle






I got my gifty loot from Shiz a couple days ago! She sent me Toblerone (which I LOVE), chocolate covered blueberries from Trader Joes, Ferraro Rocher chocolates, Lindt Extra Creamy milk chocolate, and green chenille yarn. It's taking all the energy I can muster to not eat all of the chocolate. I ate half the Lindt bar which was extra creamy. I love milk chocolate but I don't like dark or bittersweet chocolate... I'm not a fan of bittersweet chocolate, it's like eating chocolate covered aspirin.

Depriving yourself of food you love sucks. Diets suck. Imagine if I had to do this because my life and health depended on it. That would suck.

When my sister's wedding is over, I'm going to go on a eating binge.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

hallmark holiday

I don't celebrate "Hallmark holidays." I don't get excited about Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. I don't want to go to some overcrowded restaurant and wait 2 hours for a table. I don't want overpriced flowers that are just going to die in a few days - then I'll have to wash the vase and everything... blech. I always tell my husband, "Just treat me right the other 364 days of the year and you can have Valentine's Day!"

He doesn't listen.

He left me a voicemail on my office phone to the effect of, "Hey, my buddy left me a CD under the doormat - it's a video game. Make sure you get it please, thanks!"

Ha ha. He is good that hubby of mine. He knew I'd get ticked off with the whole video game thing. I opened the door and found this.


The card was kind of funny. If it didn't have "Love, John" at the end, it could've been sent by my boss.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Apricot Bars




My husband's coworker's wife gave me her recipe for Apricot Bars and I finally got a chance to make them yesterday. It's made with a shortbread crust and a chewy dried apricot and nut filling. Here's the recipe - enjoy!

Crust:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
Combine and pack into a 6 x 9 pan, bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Filling:
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
Beat eggs, mix with brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in vanilla, nuts and apricots.
Spread mixture on slightly cooled rust and bake for another 30 minutes. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut.

kitchen

On another note, I finally got the jars I wanted from Crate and Barrel to store my flour, sugar and brown sugar. I was inspired by Barefoot Contessa's kitchen - I like how she keeps her flour and sugar in those big jars. I got the 1 gallon jars from Crate and Barrel for $10.95, and the half gallon for $9.95. (Wow, I just checked Barefoot Contessa's website and she uses the same jars! I thought the jars looked similar but didn't know they were actually from C & B!)

I also came across this blog entry where the writer and visitors comment about their love/hate relationship with Ina Garten. I love her. There used to be a message board on her FoodNetwork site and people left terrible comments about how she's overweight and shouldn't be cooking with so much butter... geez! WHO CARES if she's fat? The food tastes good! I have two of her cookbooks and I haven't had a problem with any of her recipes yet.

My favorite shows / chefs to catch on FoodNetwork are:

  • Barefoot Contessa (Good food and I want her kitchen and backyard garden.)
  • Michael Chiarello (I have a coworker who looks EXACTLY like him! I want to go to one of his parties.)
  • Ham on the Street (Very entertaining, plus he is a classically trained chef unlike some hacks on Food Network.
  • Good Eats / Alton Brown (Alton Brown rules.)
  • Paula's Home Cooking (My favorite episodes are when she cooks with her sons and they say "Momma" in that Southern drawl of theirs!)
  • Sugar Rush / Warren Brown (Maybe because his name reminds me of Warrick Brown on CSI.)

Can't stand:

  • Racheal Ray (Self explanatory.)
  • Emeril Lagasse (Self explanatory.)
  • Sara Moulton (I can't explain why.)
  • Bobby Flay (Self explanatory.)
  • Tyler Florence (I used to like him then he replaced Chef Frederic on How to Boil Water, plus I got tired of watching the women look at him with dreamy eyes.)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

diet and exercise... who would've thunk it?

I tried on my bridesmaid dress yesterday - it was custom made by a seamstress who took my measurements 2 weeks ago. I was looking at the dress on a hanger thinking, "Damn, am I that big?" I was so relieved that when I tried it on, the dress was waaaaaay too big. I thought she made the dress big on purpose so that if I got bigger she could size it down but she took out her book where she recorded my measurements and told me she followed my measurements exactly. Then she measured me and compared and we both saw that I lost 2 inches off my chest (this is actually a good thing for me), waist and hips! I only lost 4 lbs. so I was really surprised but I guess when you're 5'1", 4 lbs. is a lot for a short frame.

I've been watching what I eat (not eating as much cake, cookies, bread, sugar and fat as I want to) and going to the gym 2 hours a day for 3-4 times a week. Although I don't feel different or look different I guess I am different. My clothes fit better but trust me, there is still some fluffiness where the baby house used to be. I am far from looking good naked.

I have to go back the week before I leave for Hawaii so she can take my final measurements because she has to rip apart the dress and start from scratch anyway so she wants to make sure it fits. She's really good - she only needs 2 days to make the dress. The dress came out very nice (although big) and my daughter's dress is SOOOOOOOOOOO cute. I wish I took pics but we'll pick it up in a few days and you can compare her work vs. the picture I gave her.

Yesterday was also my sister's coed bridal shower. I gorged like a pig. They had another cake from Katrina Rozelle there, this time, my favorite Erica Torte. The piece I ate topped off goat cheese and crackers, *hukilau chicken, *avocado poke, *beef short ribs, potato salad, layered jello, lox and bagels, turkey chili, fried rice, *spam musubi, and **leche flan.

*The hosts are part owners of a Hawaiian restaurant in San Jose called Da Hukilau and the *food came from the restaurant. Obviously, it was GOOD.


The cake, it calls to me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Pink/Red Swap


Here is my one handmade item for Color-iffic's February Pink/Red Swap. I tried making many things but with time constraints and my novice level, this was the best I could do. I hope my swap partner doesn't mind too much, I tried to make up for my lack of crafting skills with the rest of the goodies.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

1 out of 3


My daughter picked the picture on the top left as the one that "looks most like her family" and as you can see, her teacher questioned her choice.

Let's see... a white family, a black family, and a generic "brown" family. I'm assuming her teacher thought that my daughter should've picked the brown family but I can see my daughter's reasons for her choice.

[1] No one in our household or family is in a wheelchair.

[2] My daughter doesn't wear glasses.

[3] An old lady doesn't live with us and serves salad for dinner.

[4] The white family looks like they're having fun at the movies, who wouldn't want that? If I had to choose between going to the movies, going to church or feeding a baby while surrounded by old people, I'd choose the movies too.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

shoes are my friend

Gotta buy shoes for the wedding. Since my sister is getting married outdoors in a garden setting, I have to get wedge heels (which are my favorite heels) so that I don't sink in the ground as I would with stilettos.

I'm debating which of these to get... vote for your favorite. My dress is kind of a coral pink (pink with yellow and orange undertones).

A. Marinelli's Rhonda Sandal. This one is my favorite because it has seashells on it and the wedding is in Hawaii but I don't know how it would look with my pink dress... in a way, I don't care because I like these shoes so much.

Nordstrom's Monaco Sandal. It looks white, but this one is actually beige. They have it in turquoise which I really want but I know it won't match the dress.

Franco Sarto's Mise Sandal in copper. Dressier than the other ones.

And I couldn't resist these for my daughter. They're not for the wedding, but damn it, they're so cute!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

fore!

Joyce tagged me for a meme.

Four jobs I've had in my life:
1. Cash Girl at Six Flags Marine World when I was in high school where my job was just to count the money the games department brought in
2. Admin / Secretary
3. Integration Consultant
4. IT Project Manager

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Notting Hill
2. Chocolat
3. Old School
4. Under the Tuscan Sun

Four places I have lived:
1. Vallejo, CA
2. Sacramento, CA
3. Various Naval Bases in Guam, Illinois and California
4. Fremont, CA

Four TV shows I like to watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. The Office
3. The Shield
4. Reruns of Spin City

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Hawaii
2. Las Vegas
3. Virginia / Washington DC
4. Orlando, FL (Disneyworld!)

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Yahoo! Most Popular News
2. Shockwave's Daily Jigsaw
3. Blogs listed on my sidebar
4. Myspace.com (I'm a myspace whore)

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Toro
2. Cupcakes
3. Macarons
4. Roasted Crab and Garlic Noodles from Thanh Long

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Playing with my baby Q instead of working
2. On a tropical beach with my feet buried under the warm sand
3. In Paris enjoying macarons from Laduree
4. Living the life of "Under the Tuscan Sun"

Bloggers I am tagging:
JustJenn, Leslie, Giao & Nannette.

Monday, February 06, 2006

move over Steelers!

The Steelers aren't the only ones making headlines in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette! Bob Batz, a reporter for the Post Gazette left a comment on my blog asking me about the wrist reminders I blogged about. We conversed via email and voila! I'm newsworthy!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

shave and a haircut part II



For some reason unbeknownst to me, my 5 year old daughter decided to cut her hair. I know almost all young girls go through this stage at least once - my version was much much worse: I took a chunk of my "bang hair" and cut right next to my scalp. So that spot where your hairline meets your forehead? I had a mini flat-top there. To this day I don't know why I did that, and when I ask my daughter what possessed her to cut her hair, this was how the conversation went:

"Grandma found a whole bunch of hair in your trash can, did you cut your hair?"

"I don't know." (Note: When she says "I don't know" it ALWAYS means YES.)

"Did you use scissors to cut your hair?"

"I don't know."

"Is that your hair is in the trashcan?"

"I don't know."

"Why did you cut your hair?"

"I don't know."

"Was it bothering you? Did you want it shorter? Do you want to get a haircut?"

"I don't know."

"Well... are you going to do it again?"

"No."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

a spot of tea





I organized a Bridal Shower spa day and tea party for my sister today. We headed over to Burke Williams Spa at Santana Row in the morning and had tea at Lisa's Tea Treasures afterwards.

Lisa's was good, but my favorite teahouse is still Lovejoy's in San Francisco - their tea is better.

My friend brought the cake from Katrina Rozelle - it was a white cake with fresh raspberries in the filling. It was soooooooo good. Katrina Rozelle makes the best cakes in the bay area in my opinion. One of my favorite cakes is their Erica Torte which is a chocolate truffle cake, and I don't even like chocolate cake! Last year I even bought my own Erica Torte as a birthday gift for myself.

I also made little gift bags for the ladies to take home. In keeping with the tea party theme, the bags were filled with homemade Meyer Lemon Poppyseed shortbread, Toffee shortbread, assorted teas and a small jar of honey. Joyce introduced me to Everyday Food's Icebox Shortbread recipe, and it is so quick and easy to make -- plus the recipe only uses five ingredients!

I made little tags to go on everything by using those metal rim tags and printable round labels. I thought it was overkill labeling the teas "assorted teas" (duh) but I was on a roll. I was up until 2 AM making the cookies and gift bags so I slept through my massage at the spa.

Friday, February 03, 2006

shave and a haircut


My son's hair is thick around the sides and nonexistent on the top, very much like an old man's combover. I got tired of people telling me, "He looks like a little old man with his hair!" so we shaved it all off.

And yes, I realize that posting the picture is in contradiction to my gross post, but the traffic on my blog doesn't compare to the traffic on Flickr so unless there is someone reading this who has a clippers fetish, I think we're safe.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

January's Cake



I'M BACK!

Here it is... Martha Stewart's Meyer Lemon Anniversary Cake. I made it for my niece's first birthday and it took me about 5 hours not including the time I spent looking for Meyer lemons. I used almost 3 dozen eggs for this cake - mostly separated eggs. The cake itself was VERY tasty, but the lemon curd was way too eggy. The buttercream was yummy (butter + sugar = GOOD). I didn't bother with the candied lemon slices because I was f'ing pooped after laboring over this cake. I know it looks pretty simple but the recipe had lots of steps (cake, lemon simple syrup to brush on the cake, lemon curd, buttercream) and I know a one year old wouldn't care about candied Meyer lemon slices either! The butterflies on the cake are actually rings little ones can put on their fingers (leftover from my daughter's third birthday).

After all that work, I later realized that my cake was the "mess up cake" for the celebrant to stick her face and fingers in while a store bought cake was served to the guests.